Jump to Content
Jump to chapter

Charles Dickens

Kathleen Mary Tillotson (ed.), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 4: 1844–1846

Find Location in text

Main Text


MS Huntington Library.

Devonshire Terrace | Monday Eighteenth March 1844. My Dear Mitton

Kate heard from Mrs. Smithson yesterday. I was therefore prepared for your account of Mr. Smithson's health.

A man giving his name Smith,2 and declining to leave his business, called here twice (thrice, I think) on Friday, and once on Saturday: giving each time a thundering double knock, and sort of fire-bell ring. Chi Saturday, he left a Card of Strange's;3 and you being out of town, I thought it best to see him if he came again; and as he called early this morning, and said he would call again at One, I had him shewn up.

As I must use the Interview in a book,4 I can't weaken it by writing it down. He was a literary gentleman—not a friend of Mr. Strange's, but acquainted with him—called out of a regard for my character—Mr. Strange had shewn him an advertizement he intended to print, which would have a dreadful effect on any man—Mr. Strange had spoken of applying to Sir Peter Laurie (!)5 representing that the Solicitor had been going round, taking different sums of money from different people—he (Smith) would suggest to me that there was no Equity in punishing the innocent utterers of a Piracy, like the Pirates—&c &c &c &c. "Sir", said I, with my hand upon the bellrope, "I know nothing of Mr. Strange except what you tell me, which enlightens me curiously; touching that Gentleman. I regard my character as quite beyond the reach of Mr. Strange's assailment. There does not seem to me to be any particular Equity in my being one or two hundred Pounds out of pocket, even if Mr. Strange paid his full costs. Tell Mr. Strange from me that I am determined to stop this Piracy and to put it down6—and that if he Sent Everybody in London to me, I would not interfere pg 76between him and my Solicitors." So—he saying the same thing over and over again, and I doing the like—the Interview terminated.

Now, I think Mr. Strange must imperatively be looked to, forthwith.

I have been writing all day, and I have only just time to save the Post. Barely that.

  •                                                           Faithfully Ever
  • Thomas Mitton Esquire                                              C D.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
2 Unidentified.
Editor’s Note
3 William Strange, one of the booksellers proceeded against in the Carol case. Publisher of the first penny magazine, The Penny Story-Teller, 1832, Figaro in London, and Chambers's London Journal (with Clements and Berger). He was in trouble in 1848–9 over the attempt to exhibit some stolen royal etchings: see Prince Albert v. Strange (Jaques, CD in Chancery, p. 56).
Editor’s Note
4 No such interview can be identified in any of CD's writings.
Editor’s Note
5 Sir Peter Laurie (1779–1861; DNB), a Middlesex magistrate and former Lord Mayor; constantly attacked in Punch, and the original of Alderman Cute in The Chimes,
Editor’s Note
6 Written large, perhaps because it was a phrase of Peter Laurie's.
logo-footer Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Access is brought to you by Log out